Episode #69 featuring Stars of Cascadia

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Representing Stars of Cascadia (l to r): Scott Jeffries, Mandy Allan and John Nyen. Photo by Anne Marie for Local Hero Media

Stream or download Episode #69:  Episode 69 w/ Stars of Cascadia

When we first met Stars of Cascadia last summer, they had just launched as a local band ready to make some noise in the Americana scene in our hometown of Portland, Oregon, U.S.A. Now they’re back in The Helm with a debut CD called “Riverside Skyline” and ready to rock with a big celebration show this Friday, May 20 at White Eagle Saloon.

According to the band’s leader, Scott Jeffries, the new CD came together quickly under the guidance of producer/engineer Bryan Daste at his Magic Closet studio. With songwriting contributions from several band members, the seven-piece Stars pooled their talents to deliver some beautiful renderings of their heartfelt alt-country songs, some of which the trio of Jeffries, singer Mandy Allan and fiddle player John Nyen perform here live for Episode #69 of That Much Further West Podcast.

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Stars for the night in The Helm: Mandy, John and Scott of Stars of Cascadia. Photo by Anne Marie for Local Hero Media

They also preview a few songs from the debut album that show off the talents of the various songwriters from the band. Each is a poignant look into the life of the author, a theme that often brings out the best in country music. And by sharing a few selections by artists who have influenced his songwriting, Jeffries displays a leaning toward the sentimental and wistful, things that may not seem obvious considering the scathing nature of a few of the originals he shares.

All in all, the band paints a fairly complete portrait of what they’re about and how they bring their hard-boiled stories to life. So sit back and enjoy this hour with Stars of Cascadia, and be sure to pick up a copy of the new record at their show this Friday night or at any of a number of online outlets when the disc goes live later in the week.

Here’s the playlist:

Santa Ana Winds (Live In The Helm), Stars of Cascadia
Life Of The Party (Live In The Helm), Stars of Cascadia
Judge Moore (Live In The Helm), Stars of Cascadia
$1,000 Wedding, Gram Parsons
TVA, Drive-By Truckers
Tonight, Shine A Light, Matthew Lindley
The Man I Am, Stars of Cascadia
Lowmoor, Stars of Cascadia
Bad Habits, Stars of Cascadia

Episode #55 featuring Stars of Cascadia

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Our three Stars of the game (l to r): John, Mandy and Scott from Stars of Cascadia. Photo by Anne Barrett

Episode #55 with Stars of Cascadia

Shifting winds brought smoke from the raging Western wildfires into the Portland area this past weekend, smuggering up the sky and blocking out our beautiful weekend stars. And while our thoughts are with the folks east of the Cascades adversely affected by the fires, we at least were able to enjoy a visit in The Helm from a few of the folks in Stars of Cascadia, a new alt-country band emerging on the Portland scene.

The Stars are led by an old friend of the podcast, Scott Jeffries, who first appeared on the show as a member of the psych-rock band Spirit Lake. He’s joined here by singer Mandy Allan and fiddle player John Nyen, who make up key elements of the full seven-piece outfit the Stars have evolved into.

During the interview, we learn how Mr. Jeffries left Spirit Lake to pursue his country muse. He formed Stars of Cascadia with a group of like-minded supporters of our local men’s professional soccer team, the Portland Timbers, and rounded out the lineup with all the necessary accouterments — telecaster, pedal steel, etc. — to bring their version of original twang to the masses.

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The Stars of Cascadia entertaining the nurses in The Helm.

Having played shows for more than a year now, Stars of Cascadia are picking up momentum and making big plans for recording and live playing. Here they share a couple of Scott’s original songs with Mandy and John playing prominent roles in the performance. Scott also talks about the influences that drove him toward country music, including his upbringing in California, a constant source of inspiration in his song-writing.

The interview evolves into a healthy debate about who was the best singer in The Band — Rick Danko, Levon Helm or Richard Manuel. Too bad none of these greats is alive to defend his particular legacy, though we came to the conclusion that as awe-inspiring as these singers were individually, they were all better when singing together and making those magical harmonies. Listening to the show, you’ll appreciate the harmonies laid down by Scott and Mandy, who produce a little magic of their own.

And while our hot, dry summer has brought dangerous conditions for wildfires, it also brought a wave of our favorite artists as their summer tours roared through the Pacific Northwest. On this episode we share a playlist full of music by some of the great bands and singers our hosts have had the pleasure of witnessing since the last time we gathered in The Helm, including Jason Isbell, American Aquarium, The Good Luck Thrift Store Outfit and Possessed By Paul James.

We also share some new music from artists D.L. Marble, Jonathan Tyler and a track from the new solo album by Slobberbone front man Brent Best. So there’s lots to dig into for Episode #55. Have at it!

Here’s the playlist:

Daddy Was A Liar, Brent Best
Heart On A Shelf, The Good Luck Thrift Store Outfit
Country Love Song, D. L. Marble
The Man I Am Today (Live In The Helm), Stars of Cascadia
Modjeska (Live In The Helm), Stars of Cascadia
Shoulda Known Better, Possessed By Paul James
Wolves, American Aquarium
This Is How We Do Things In The Country, Slim Cessna’s Auto Club
Palmetto Rose, Jason Isbell
Run-Down Neighborhood, Lindi Ortega
Hold You Like A Harness, Hip Hatchet
Riverbottom, Jonathan Tyler